The Routt County Climate Action Plan (CAP) is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for the Yampa Valley.

Developed through community and technical input, the CAP identifies 22 strategies that reduce emissions across five sectors: Energy, Transportation, Waste, Land Use and Economy.

If all strategies and actions are implemented, Routt County could reduce GHG emissions to 35% below our 2005 levels by 2030, and 74% by 2050. While our potential reduction is significant, it falls short of US goals which aim to reduce emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. This means we need to implement all of our CAP strategies, and more.

Go Deeper - Read the CAP Strategies

Next month we will take a closer look at the process the CAP Collaborative Working Groups are going through to develop priority actions that best implement the CAP strategies. Their final recommendations will be shared at the Collaborative Public Open House on June 21 at CMC, 5:30-7:30pm. Join us to learn more about priority actions, engage with CAP Collaborative members and help make the implementation of the CAP a success.

Brave Leadership on Acting Now

Thomas Cooper and Margaux Shea are two passionate and committed student environmental activists who have been making a difference in their community through their involvement with the Steamboat Springs High School Eco Club. In a recent article with the Steamboat Pilot, they discussed the urgency of addressing climate change and their efforts to raise awareness and spur action at the local level. Through their inspiring work, Thomas and Margaux are helping others to take action and make a positive impact on the planet. Both recently answered our questions about the importance of participating in climate action now, their thoughts on why the CAP is significant and their plans for the future.

Thomas Cooper is a graduate of the Steamboat Springs High School 2023 class. He became involved in the high school Eco Club with encouragement from his sister Emi Cooper, and throughout his time with the club has learned that environmental advocacy work doesn't always need to be sad & serious.

Alongside Margaux he has cultivated a culture of hope, positivity and action among Eco Club members and is heading off to University of Utah in the fall to study Political Science.

Margaux Shea joined the SSHS Eco Club and local Fridays for the Future chapter as a freshman. Growing up in Routt County helped Margaux develop a deep appreciation for the outdoors and a passion to protect the place we live for future generations.

As she heads off to college in the fall she will be studying Biology in order to pursue a career in medicine. However, she still plans to be involved in environmental action in many forms including educating others of the importance of climate action.

Each month we will be highlighting a climate win/news item and action you can take across the CAP's five sectors. Celebrating our successes and steps taken will help us move the CAP forward together as a community. If you have a climate win or action you would like to share, please email [email protected].

Climate News

The Routt County Planning Department is about to take a big step in bringing more solar energy, the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available, to Routt County. When a request for proposals from Xcel Energy for new renewable energy generation was released in December, the Routt County Planning Department received interest from several solar developers for several planned large solar projects in the Hayden area. Over 1,000 bids were received by Xcel energy as a result of the RFP process.

Utility-scale solar is defined as 20 megawatts or larger, which equates to about 100 acres. To provide community outreach and education on the utility-scale solar process, the Planning Department, in partnership with the Colorado Solar and Storage Association, hosted a drop-in style Routt County Solar Summit on April 26 at the Hayden Public Library.

Read More

Action You Can Take

Have thoughts about Heated Outdoor Snow Melt systems? There is still time to complete Routt County Building Department's 2021 Building & Energy Code Survey. The 23 question survey primarily pertains to Outdoor/Indoor Energy Codes and Wildfire Codes. Feedback on Final Proposed Code language is due May 1.

Complete Survey

Expanding geothermal energy is a climate and resilience strategy that supports the CAP. Join former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, now director for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, at the Geothermal Gathering at Bud Werner Memorial Library Hall on May 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The event, co-hosted by the Colorado Energy Office and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, aims to educate attendees about geothermal energy, including ground-source heat pumps and community geothermal heat pump systems.

Register for Geothermal Event

Climate News

One of the clearest signs of a changing climate in the Yampa Valley is the impact on our rivers and streams. Even with more snow this winter, we still face the possibility of low summer flows and increased water temperatures leading to recreational closures and stress on fish populations. The need to restore the function of rivers and streams and build resilience has become increasingly important to combat uncertain risks of warmer and drier conditions in the future.

That's why various water interests are urging Colorado's General Assembly to pass SB23-270, Projects to Restore Natural Stream Systems, sponsored by our local Sen. Dylan Roberts, as well as Sen. Cleave Simpson and Rep. Karen McCormick. The bill would provide legal clarity for critical resilience-boosting stream restoration projects while maintaining existing protections for water rights holders and users. The degradation of many streams and wetlands in the Yampa Valley due to past land use and drought emphasizes the need for restoration of natural stream processes that offer numerous environmental and economic benefits, including wildfire resilience, flood safety, and wildlife habitat.

Read More

Action You Can Take

How are we, as a community, managing snows and flows amidst historic long-term drought to ensure our water resilience? This question will be at the forefront, June 1-2, at the 2023 Yampa Basin Rendezvous. The overarching goal is to provide a venue that encourages a science-based, community-centered approach to create informed, adaptive, proactive, and science-based management strategies for the Yampa Basin’s natural resources and communities. 

Register for YBR

The Bear Ears Fuels Reduction and Restoration Project in Moffat and Routt counties is under review for public feedback by the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District and the U.S. Forest Service. The project aims to treat a wide range of landscapes on a maximum of 57,000 acres, which would enhance forest health and ensure human safety. The Forest Service presented the project proposal at a town hall at 5 p.m. April 27 at Bud Werner Library, and is requesting public comment through May 19. The decision on the project is expected to be made in the autumn of 2023, and implementation is scheduled to begin in 2024.

Public Comment

Climate Win

Increased adoption of electric vehicles in Routt County is a primary CAP Transportation strategy with the goals of 20% of registered vehicles be electric by 2030 and 95% by 2050. The electrification of fleet cargo and passenger vans would not only help achieve that goal but would considerably improve our carbon transportation footprint.

On April 25, the City of Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council in partnership with Colorado-based Lightning eMotors co-hosted an Electric Shuttle Ride and Drive event. Managers from close to 20 local fleets had the opportunity to test drive a Lightning ZEV Zero Emission Class 4 Shuttle Bus to get a better understanding how electric vehicles can work for their business and the environment.

Action You Can Take

As Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption picks up pace locally, regionally and globally, we encourage you to mark your calendars for the upcoming EV Ride and Drive event on May 7, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m, at the Howelsen Rodeo Grounds. Attendees will have the opportunity to test drive a wide variety of electric vehicles, to ask local EV owners about what it’s like to own an EV in the Yampa Valley, and to learn about all of the tax credits available to make owning an EV more affordable! You must be registered to attend.

Register for Ride & Drive

Additionally, a lunchtime seminar will take place on May 18 at Centennial Hall in Steamboat, where property and lodging managers, homeowner associations, and interested residents can learn how to navigate electric vehicle charger installations and grant funding options for multi-family units and lodging properties. The seminar will run from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Learn More

Climate Win

The Routt County Climate Action Plan (CAP) identifies emissions reduction targets for the waste sector of 46% diverted by 2030 and 85% by 2050. Within the CAP, Waste Strategy 1, Action 7 states, “Develop a construction and demolition diversion program.” To date there is no formalized program for diversion of construction and demolition (C&D) materials, but there are some businesses and organizations that are leading the way by doing some deconstruction and diversion of materials. The City of Steamboat Springs, with its sustainable approach to the demolition of City Hall, is one of those entities.

Read More

Action You Can Take

Local environmental groups are urging cleanup efforts by residents to help prevent river contamination. Although the official city and county road cleanup day isn't scheduled until May 20, trash piles are emerging as the snow melts. Helping to pickup trash and dog poop on a day-to-day basis will keep the waste from flowing into storm drains and into the river. Picking up along waterways and drainages is especially important.

Learn More

Climate Win

Today we celebrate three local restaurants for their commitment to composting and food waste reduction. Cruisers, Drunken Onion and Salt & Lime are part of an almost two-year composting pilot program facilitated by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Cowgirl Compost CO. Since they started composting in February 2022, Cruisers and Drunken Onion have each kept 8.8 tons of food waste from being landfilled. Collectively, that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 26 tons or the equivalent of taking six vehicles off the road for an entire year. Salt & Lime began composting in June 2022 and has already diverted 8.6 tons of food waste from the landfill, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 12.9 tons. That's another three vehicles off the road for the year. Thank you all for your continued commitment to climate action and for serving up delicious food in the process!

Action You Can Take

This year's annual Routt County Economic Summit will take place on Friday, May 12 at Colorado Mountain College. The 2023 Economic Summit will feature a green business panel discussion to introduce the Yampa Valley Green Business Program and its role as a Regional Partner of the Colorado Green Business Network. Register to learn how the program can support local businesses to improve their environmental performance while lowering costs and increasing customer and worker satisfaction. Interested businesses will learn the simple steps of registering their business through the GreenBiz Tracker and will hear from two active Yampa Valley Green Business participants - SavATree and Alpine Bank.

Register for Economic Summit

We’d love your help getting the word out about the CAP Collaborative. Please share this newsletter with your friends and encourage them to sign up to stay informed. Continue the conversation on Facebook and Instagram, and email us at [email protected].


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Board Agendas & Minutes

CAP Working Group Agendas & Meeting Summaries

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